Acer Aspire One D270 Review – a budget Intel Atom N2600 netbook
This week Acer has announced that they are ready to start preorders on the Acer Aspire One D270, one of the first netbooks coming with the Cedar Trail CPU architecture from Intel. With the Intel Atom N2600 processor, 1GB of DDR3 and a total weight of 2.87 pounds, it’s surely a device which promises to deliver, but can it handle everything we have to throw at it?!
I was really curious to see this mini laptop in action because I already own an Acer Aspire One D257 and wanted to see the difference between the two. I can tell you this from the start: it performs better than most netbooks launched in 2011. The reason is the better CPU and improved overall design.
- Screen: 10.1 inch LED-backlit display with a 1024 x 600 px resolution
- CPU: Intel Atom N2600 at 1.6GHz, Cedar Trail Architecture
- Memory: 1GB DDR3
- Video Card: Integrated, Intel GMA 3600
- Storage: 320GB HDD
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
- Ports: 3 x USB 2.0, VGA Output, HDMI Output, LAN, card reader
- Battery: 6 Cells, 4400mAH
- Operating System: Windows 7 Starter, 32-bit
- Size: 10.1’’ x 7.2’’ x 0.9’’
- Weight: 2.87lb
Design, body and build
The first impression for the Acer Aspire One D270 depends on which part of the device you look at first. The lid has retained the simple shape it had on its predecessor, with a very straight design with curved corners which from my point of view gives the device a very stylish look. The underside is made out of plastic in the color of the laptop but feels durable and strong. On the other, if you look at the D270 from its side you’ll see that it tends to have a rather bulky feel to it. In reality it’s not thicker than the D257 for instance, measuring 0.9’’ in thickness, but it has the same height all along the body so it tends to look thick.
A pleasant surprise was to see Acer coming up with a good number of color options: a dark maroon (Espresso), a light blue (Aquamarine), white (Seashell White), red (Burgundy Red). You’ll also find a Baloon Carnival special edition which actually the Seashell White version with some colored balloons/circles on the top of the lid and a colored touchpad.
Overall, the Acer A270 netbook is pretty well designed. You don’t have problems accessing the ports, opening the lid or typing, although we have to mention that the On/Off button seems a bit out of place there. Furthermore, as with the case of the D257 you don’t get Caps Lock indicator LEDs which for me as a writer is annoying.
Keyboard and touchpad
From this point of view, Acer has not made any massive improvements. You get practically the same clichet keyboard the D257 had, with the same strengths and weaknesses. The keys are easy to push even if it takes some time to get used to if you are coming from a standard laptop keyboard to this one. You’ll see that the keyboard bends a bit if you type hard but nothing to get scared of.
One thing is very annoying though: the directional keys all crammed with the Page-Up/Home and Page-Down/End keys. The combination between the Page-Up and Home is very good, but they are still hard to use when you are in a hurry and I always tend to mistype when using the directional keys.
Acer has fitted the D270 model with a good touchpad that features multi-touch gestures. It’s very easy to use and decently-sized. The single mouse button which is very common these days is not the easiest to push, but not as annoying as the directional keys, I can tell you that.
Opening the lid of the Acer Aspire D270 will reveal the 10 inch LED backlit screen. You’ll notice from the start that the screen is glossy, which makes it rather hard to use in direct sunlight. The good backlighting compensates some, but overall we can’t say that we are impressed with the screen finish. Viewing angles and colores are good to great on the D270 so we can’t complain from that point of view.
The 1024 x 600 pixel resolution of the screen is yet another minus for this mini laptop, being a big decision factor for many who would like to enjoy HD content on the D270. Indeed, you can use the HDMI output to stream HD or Full HD on a wider screen, but when it comes to native HD playback this Cedar Trail netbook falls short.
Hardware Specs and Overall Performance
Performance-wise, you’ll clearly notice that the Acer D270 is a Cedar Trail netbook. Compared to the older Intel Atom N550 at 1.5GHz, the Dual-Core Intel Atom N2600 which comes on this mini laptop can easily handle more complex applications. HD and Full HD playback and streaming is also possible now, which was a big downside on the 2011 version of this netbook.
The D270 also comes with 1GB of DDR3 clocked at 1066MHz and the Intel GMA 3600 graphics card. You’ll be able to do your job well with only 1GB of RAM, but if you plan on running games or more complex applications on this netbook we suggest making an upgrade to 2GB of RAM. It’s still strange that Acer has not launched a 2GB version, but we hope for it to appear in the future.
In terms of storage, you will get a decent 320GB hard drive, but no SSD options for this netbook. The mini laptop takes about 40 second to cold boot and 2-5 seconds to come back from standby which is the standard time for such gadgets.
Battery Life and Special Features
Battery life is very good on the Acer Aspire One D270, averaging around 8 hours of usage in everyday situations. If you plug in a USB 3G modem, start running games or anything which stresses the hardware a lot you’ll get around 5-6 hours of juice until the laptop shuts down. In my experience if you have a 3G modem inserted, the laptop will die even when it’s approximating 30 more minutes of battery life, but you can still start it and get another 20-30 minutes out of it without the modem.
One of the biggest improvements on the D270 from Acer is the HDMI port which was lacking on the previous model. You can now easily connect your netbook to a TV and stream your favorite movies or shows in HD format. A big +1 for the D270 on this one. (Speaking of +1’s, don’t forget to add TipsAvenue to your circles )
Price and availability
The price tag for the Acer Aspire One D270 varies depending on the model you want. You can get the Aquamarine model for $279.99, the SeashellWhite version for $284.61, and the Acer Aspire One Burgundy Red and Espresso Black for $307.99. Follow this link to buy or find out more about each model!
Update: Acer is now offering a 3-cell model for the Aspire One D270 that goes for $249.99 on their site which gives you a total run time of 4 hours max. Of course, still overpriced in stores!
Wrapping this Acer Aspire One D270 review, the Acer Aspire One D270 is a well priced entry-level netbook which manages to integrate well on the market. It comes with a powerful new-generation Intel Atom processor, decent hard-drive space and all the must-have ports you can think of.
There are some minuses though such as the glossy screen with a small resolution, but overall we considered the plusses to outweigh the minuses by far. A keeper!